Triathlon combines the 3 sports of swimming, biking and running; in that order, over several distances from sprint to ironman distance. Triathlon is a demanding sport as it focuses on all these disciplines and requires periodised training in each one.
As well as being successful in swimming, biking and running; triathletes need power, strength and endurance to get through the race and the months of training preceding each event.
The main focus of triathlon training is to build stamina through cardiovascular exercise. However as the three sections of a triathlon use different muscle groups, for instance running is great for hamstrings, biking emphasises quads and glutes and swimming is a great upper body strengthener, triathletes tend to have low bodyfat and a high percentage of muscle mass.
To maintain this optimum physique, good nutrition is vital and sports supplements such as meal replacements, nutrition bars and ready-to-drinks provide easily digestible forms of carbohydrates and protein; used for energy and muscle repair.
Additional amino acids can be of benefit to prevent catabolism of muscle tissue, especially due to the highly aerobic nature of triathlon training. Losing muscle tissue can leave you weaker and more prone to injury. To build muscle tissue try supplementing with creatine which also increases the storage of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the body’s energy source.
Triathletes have to train for months before the actual event, often involving long-distance runs and bike rides; as well as open water swimming. Fatigue can set in which can sideline your training so using
Energy gels or sports drinks can rehydrate and refuel your body by providing vital carbohydrates; which should make up at least 60% of a triathletes diet. Using these types of supplements immediately pre-workout, during or after workouts can help you recover more fully by restocking glycogen stores. They are also useful when carbo-loading before the triathlon. Electrolyte mixes and drinks replenish lost minerals, such as sodium and potassium, that are sweated out especially when training in hot weather.
Other Energy & Endurance supplements, such as herbal stimulants like Guarana or Green Tea, can provide an instant lift to both physical and mental energy so you’re more prepared for the long haul. The nature of triathlete training can often lead to overtraining syndrome which makes you feel more rundown and prone to illness.
Multi-vitamins can make up for any shortfalls in your diet especially as its common for triathletes to be deficient in energy producing B vitamins, Iron and essential fats.
Lastly it’s vital to protect your joints and ligaments from overuse injuries by using nutrients like Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
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